Competition was fierce on March 3 in the Plymouth gymnasium during the MHSAA Gymnastics Regionals, where seven teams competed for a spot at the state meet. Salem, Canton, Plymouth, Livonia Blue, Livonia Red, Tecumseh and Saline tumbled, lept and turned to try and claim one of the top three spots in order to advance to states.
Competition among Park teams was intense because the three teams have been neck and neck all season, though Plymouth went into the meet as Park champs.
Antinique Kirksey, Plymouth senior captain, said, “We got off to a slow start, we won Fraser invite, we got fourth at KLAA, [we’ve had] a few injuries but that’s not slowing us down that much.” Plymouth qualified for states by placing second with a score of 143.950. Key gymnasts for their team included senior Paige Sanders, who scored 9.8 on floor, and senior Emily Caragay, who came in second all-around for D1. “[It’s been] a smooth season, nothing extravagant has happened,” said Kirksey. Nevertheless, Plymouth performed well enough at regionals to successfully secure a spot at states and earn sixth in the state finals.
Salem also performed especially well. Salem’s team has not made it to states as a team since 2013, but came in third with a score of 141.975.
“[Our season] has been pretty good. The last few meets we’ve scored some of our highest scores,” said Riley Fisher, Salem junior captain. Fisher placed second on beam and floor in D2 with a score of 9.3 and 9.325, respectively, earning herself the top spot in all-around for D2, which made her an important contributor to her team’s third place spot.
At states, Salem landed in ninth.
Canton, on the other hand, did not have as successful of a meet. This was the first time they haven’t qualified for states since 2002, a major letdown for the team considering they were state runner-ups just last year.
“It’s been a really tough meet. There are a lot of really good teams here, a lot of high scores. Our team has had some of the lower scores and there have been tears,” said Rachel Socha, Canton senior captain.
Canton landed in fifth place with a score of 137.550, which was a surprising anomaly compared to their usual high scores at regionals over the past few years. However, Socha and sophomore Zoe Graves qualified as individuals, so Canton still had representation at the state meet. Socha and Graves are both very strong gymnasts; Socha placed sixth on floor and Graves placed tenth on bars at states, a huge accomplishment for both of them.